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A Guardian columnist turned her crosshairs toward the Creation Museum this past week. Are her criticisms anything new?
Judith Maltby visited our Creation Museum recently, and she begins her Guardian column by claiming the museum’s mission is “not only to prove the veracity of a literal reading of Genesis but also to present Darwinism as one the most dangerous and corrupting ideologies yet known to humankind.” Maltby continues:
The museum is really the Museum of Biblical Literalism: Darwinism is responsible for war, drug abuse, societal breakdown and racism. . . . But the existence of all these evils, including slavery, before the publication of On the Origin of Species in 1859 is strangely absent from the analysis.
Social ills have been around since Cain killed Abel.
We might call this misunderstanding number one. Maltby is right that the existence of societal evils before Darwin disproves the claim that evolutionary beliefs are the cause of societal evils. But that’s not what we argue. Rather, we point out that evolutionary beliefs erode the foundation for morality, and thus erode society’s way of ruling such behaviors as objectively wrong. Social ills have been around since Cain killed Abel; but the church had the moral authority to call them what they are until it accepted (by and large) Darwinian ideas about life’s origin. Ken Ham makes this clear in The Human Kind of Darwin’s Plantation [now printed under the title One Race One Blood]:
Now, don’t get the idea that evolution is the cause of racism. Sin is the cause of racism. But Darwinian evolution fueled a particular form of racism by giving individuals and the masses a scientific excuse to pursue this godless philosophy by using evolution as justification for discrimination, abuse, and even mass genocide.
The same logic applies to “war, drug abuse, [and] societal breakdown,” of course.
At a few points, it’s difficult to determine if Maltby is being sarcastic, if she misunderstands our points, or if she simply assumes all readers already agree with her. For example, she writes, “The point at which we . . . needed a cup of tea was the short film explaining how legends such as Saint George and the dragon might well be a fragment of collective human memory of dinosaurs, since the flood was less than 4,000 years ago.” We take it that Maltby found this film unconvincing, though she dismisses the St. George argument without reason.
She dismisses the St. George argument without reason.
Maltby’s attempts a coup de grâce by offering her “real challenge to biblical literalism and fundamentalism,” apparently thinking young-earth creationists haven’t faced up to this attack before:
The first two chapters of Genesis contain two creation stories, not one. In Genesis 1–Genesis 2:3, the earth, the plants, the animals and the first two human beings ("male and female he created them in his own image and likeness") are created in that order. In the rest of Genesis 2, Adam is made first, then all plants and animals, and then Eve. Awkward.
This isn’t a topic presented in the Creation Museum precisely because it isn’t a troubling issue (as Maltby suggests). Rather, it’s a simple mistranslation.
Maltby’s response to our museum is especially frustrating given that she is a chaplain. We wonder, though, if many theistic evolutionists’ familiarity with young-earth creation is equally incomplete. Unfortunately, it’s impossible to fit every young-earth creationist argument, counter-argument, counter-counter-argument, and so on in a museum (especially one designed to be interactive, to-the-point, and focused on evangelism). Rather, our website is the repository of argument, counter-argument, and beyond!
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